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Saudis Buying German Tanks?

| 8 Comments

If anyone is curious what's going on with that, you can get the whole run-down at Defense Industry Daily - just read "Desert Leopards: Germany Selling Heavy Armor to the Saudis?".

As a bonus, DJ Elliott offers "The Missing Links: A Realistic Appraisal of the Iraqi Military."

8 Comments

Good stuff here. The only caveat is that a nuclear armed Iran (which appears to be an inevitability at this point) makes all the conventional forces in the region a bit of kabuki theater. Saudi Arabia will pursue a nuke (possibly others) and the middle east will become a nuclear armed camp.

I don't see a lot of point arming Iraq when its likely to end up an Iranian client state anyway. Iraq cant win a conventional war without US intervention, and Iran has no reason to fight one. Once Iran is nuclear armed, no Sunni state will risk trying to grab a piece of Iraq. Hence nobody is left to fight a conventional war.

On the other hand, Iraq is pretty well positioned to make any over-reach by Iran an Iranian nightmare. If Iran actually did seize a piece of Iraq, the Iraqis have the perfect recipe for a low intensity campaign to make them quit. If you know COIN well you can certainly play the other side of the fence quite effectively... and plenty of Iraqis have literally played both sides. From an Iraqi nationalist point of view, they probably have an ideal force structure given their situation. They have no need to project power but have the ability to make any occupier regret it badly.

They have no need to project power but have the ability to make any occupier regret it badly.

I'd say they have the ability to make any civilized occupier regret it badly. I doubt the Iranians would pussyfoot around like we did. They'd simply massacre Sunni insurgents and destroy whatever villages and towns supported them until they quit. Being savages does have its advatages.

Certainly plausible but there are plenty of examples of that failing as well, or leading to Pyrrhic victories. Moreover, Iran can't survive without selling oil, and such a move would surely lead to some sort of international action to boycott their oil exports (one of the few moves conceivable against a nuclear power).

Good point, brutality didn't work terribly well for the Russians in Afghanistan. Still that seems to me a bit apples and oranges. The Iranians would have natural allies in many of the Shi'ite majority, the rest would probably just sit and watch the Iranians destroy their old enemies.

As for oil boycotts, we all know how well that worked with Sadam Hussein. I seriously doubt the Iranians would have much trouble working around an oil boycott.

Saudis were around here (Spain) a year ago trying the Leopards. They were concerned about the equipment needed to adapt them to high temperatures.

BTW, the Spanish version was built under license by Santa Barbara, owned by General Dynamics.

I don't see Shi'ites from either Iran or Iraq supporting the Iranian theocracy right now (as a particular case of) I don't see many Middle East peoples supporting their authoritarian ruling elites right now.

Its one thing to accept the Iranians as an ally and brother in arms, another as an overlord. The Iraqis proved that pretty resoundingly when they punted the Iranian backed thugs out of Basra a couple years ago- that was essentially a warning shot. Iran and Iraq fought a long bitter war and even the Iraqi Shiaa aren't crazy about the Iranians. Nationalism is real in Iraq- I think they'll take Irans money and arms, but that doesn't mean they want to live under them.

Now all the Saudis need is a division's worth of British Challengers and they'll have a complete set.

Collect them all!

Though the French would be upset about the Leclerc tank's omission, and there's also the Italian Ariete in that medium-heavy weight class. Not to mention Russia's T-90, for which there are credible rumors of a proposed deal.

As noted in the article, it will be interesting to see which tanks the Leopards replace: existing French AMX-30s, or American M60s? Different divisions will be affected depending on the choice.

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